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The Canadian and American Reformed Churches (CanRC) is a federation of over fifty Protestant Christian churches in Canada and the USA, with historical roots in the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, and doctrinal roots in the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. Its emphasis is on Biblical, Christ-centered, covenantal, redemptive-historical preaching and teaching, and holy living as a response of gratitude to the gospel.

Basic beliefs and doctrine

In the Canadian and American Reformed Churches, members believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the authoritative rule for all of life. The heart of the preaching and teaching in these churches is that Jesus of Nazareth is both true man and true God and is the long-awaited Messiah who suffered and died for the sins of God's people, and that this demands a thankful response of faith and obedience. Like other Reformed churches, they teach that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, follow Reformed (Calvinist) theology, and have adopted the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dort) as their doctrinal standards. Upon public profession of faith, members are understood to subscribe to these confessions as faithfully summarizing the doctrine of the Bible.


The Canadian Reformed Churches were founded by members of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands who immigrated to Canadamarker following World War II. These Dutch immigrants first made contact with already-existing Reformed churches in Canada, especially the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), in the hope that they could join with them. This was not possible, however, due to theological differences with the PRC, and the fact that the CRCNA sympathized with the churches from which the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated) had broken away in 1944.

The first Canadian Reformed congregation was instituted in Lethbridgemarker, Albertamarker on April 16, 1950. There are currently just over 50 congregations, with a total membership of 16,843 at the end of 2008. Local churches are found in British Columbiamarker, Albertamarker, Manitobamarker and Ontariomarker, as well as in the Americanmarker states of Washingtonmarker, Michiganmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, Marylandmarker and Coloradomarker.

Church government

Believing that the government of the church must be regulated by the Bible, the CanRC federation practices a traditionally Reformed "bottom-up" polity, as opposed to a "top-down" model of church government. This approach to church polity reflects their continental Reformed roots. It emphasizes both the principles of being anti-hierarchical and anti-independent, thus defending both the autonomy of the local church and the need to cooperate within a federation. Its official system of government is described in a church order based on the church order adopted by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). The federation is divided into eight classical regions, with annual regional synods and a general synod every three years.

Ecumenical relations

The Canadian Reformed Churches also have "ecclesiastical fellowship" with a number of Reformed and Presbyterian church federations, including the following:

The Americas:


Organic unity is currently being pursued with the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA). The Canadian Reformed Churches is also a member of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC), and was recently received as a member of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) in November 2008.

Theological Education

Maintaining the principle that theological education must be maintained by the churches and for the churches, the federation operates the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches [78924], which is located in Hamilton, Ontariomarker.


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